She Remodeled a 300 Year Old Stone House

She Remodeled a 300 Year Old Stone House


I’m Zdenka. We are on the Island of Vis in
Croatia and right now we are in Villa Z which is our family house. It’s an ancient
stone house, 300 years old, which we renovated two years ago. My grandma and grandfather and my dad
and his brother they lived here. Ever since I was born I remember coming
here for summer. Actually this is the place where I learned my first steps.
Since I was a little kid I was always thinking about, “how can you get best
usage of every space that you have?” And as things developed I understood that I
really liked creating spaces as the family grew bigger and bigger. I have a
sister. She has a family. I have a family and it’s many of us so when we should
come here it was not a high standard I mean it was very, very basic. The
designing process took us about a year but just because I had other things I
was working on at the same time. The construction process was only four months. One
month for furnishing and decoration. Less than have a year from the roof till floor. Hello and welcome everybody to Villa Z.
This is authentic stone house on the island of Vis in Croatia in the middle
of Adriatic Sea. It’s 300 years old. It’s our family house that we renovated
two years ago. It is part of bigger complex and our part is this area here.
Our entrance was on the terrace and here we had wine cellar and in this area here
there was a donkey and my uncle who lived in this house it was his donkey
and he used that wine cellar to produce wine. We decided we would make that wine
cellar to a living area and so we moved the main entrance down there and
transformed this outer space which was stone courtyard to outer living space.
This area is bigger than the upper terrace so it works well. Out of this
donkey place we made a barbecue area where you can sit around the fire and
make great barbecue. I can welcome you to the inside of house. The layout is very simple so I have six
by six meters. It’s not rectangular it’s a little bit squeezed. I tried it all
different possible ideas but in the end the best one was the simplest one. I
think it’s very very often that case. When you put the stairs in the right
place you get the right house. We’re in the living area here and kitchen. It was
wine cellar here. It was all black. This is the pillar that I had to make some
adjustments. I had to accept it. That was the toughest decision for me to keep it
because I wanted to have completely free area but if I did destroy it I would
have to destroy the slab and it would take us at least one more month which we
didn’t have. I said, “okay, let’s keep it and we’ll try to make it as good as
possible.” We discovered these beautiful old bricks
so we cleaned them and reveal them to be part of the kitchen and this space here
it was a water tank. Of course it was a wall here. Water would come from the
terrace and it was collected here but since now we have normal water supply, local, we don’t need it anymore so we made the bathroom. You see that hole?
That was a hole where the water would come to and now we put the light inside.
It was the simplest form of kitchen just to have it here on this wall. In this
wardrobe there is a big water tank for solar heated water so that’s the center
for all house and this is form of renewable energy. So this is original
stone wall which we just cleansed it and put the new mortar inside and you can
see those particular stones like 100 years ago. The purpose of this stone was
to hold the big wooden beam. That was a construction for the next floor but now we have
a concrete slab so we didn’t need it anymore.
Those lights were made by one family that’s working with pottery for many
generations and they are located in northern Croatia. We had to use steel
stairs because we just have concrete here but other slabs are wooden
construction so it had to be lightweight. So we had local craftsmen who was
working with steel and we designed those stairs. It was very interesting part of
the building because everything was furnished they were still working on
these stairs so it was the last thing that was made in this house and my
husband and my eldest son were working on these wooden parts of stairs so it
was handmade. I wanted to make those stairs as open up as possible because we
have no windows on this side of wall in the living area so we just wanted to
have some air and light go through. First floor. This is the area where it used to
be just a kitchen, a small room of my uncle, and here it was a very, very,
very tiny bathroom. The only bathroom in the house, but here you can
see the view. This is the bathroom with the view and the upper one also. I wanted
to make it as white and bright as possible. All house is white and bright
except for the stairs which are black and steel so that makes a good contrast.
This was the part of house where it was my uncle’s room. He used to watch TV all
day when he would come from the his vineyard he would lay down. His
bed was here and he had a TV there and I remember it used to be in
black-and-white TV and he used to take sunglasses and I asked him, “Why do you
watch TV with sunglasses?” He said, “Now I have it in color.”
So this is the room which has direct access to the upper terrace before it
was main entrance. In summertime you can sit here. As you can see, we have a little
square in here which is quite nice because there is not much houses around
us but there are other terraces which are quite close so when we use it in
this way when you sit here you don’t see other people there. You can just have
your own piece of freedom. Because of this, everything is under conservation
we had an issue where to put the outside air conditioned boxes so we put them
behind those grills. You can see this it’s like the walls are never the same
thickness and wall is thicker here and then becomes less thick in this area. We
needed this big wardrobe for all the pillows and everything you know but it’s
something you need in every rental house. And this is bonus, extra place, which you
will see right now when you go to the attic and construction of these
stairs was quite interesting so we are in the attic area which is just my
height. And this room also has a sea view. This windows are specifically
designed so you can stand here and enjoy the view. I like it. I like being here. I enjoy coming here with our friends and family.
Whenever you redesign authentic old building you will always encounter
challenges and unexpected situations. You don’t know what is inside of the walls,
what is under the layers, so then you have to decide what you will do with it.
You should think, “I will consider”, what do you have at hand, what tools do you have, what
tools you know how to use and then decide how will you work on your house
or renovation or whatever. The way you deal with that reflects on your expenses
and the time needed. Just respect what you have and make it be your starting
point. Don’t try to make it more beautiful than
it is because it is beautiful already and just take what you have and show it
and then everything else will fall. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed
Villa Z in Vis, Croatia. This is the final episode of Season 8 of Alternative
Living Spaces but fear not we are working very hard to film Season 9 and
it will be ready to be posted before you know it. In the meantime, subscribe and
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